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Wang 'William' Liqiang claims to be a Chinese spy who's defecting to Australia.

In the world of spies, double agents, and triple agents, where intelligence agents go to great lengths to conceal what they know and mislead counterintelligence operatives, it seems astonishingly brazen for Wang 'William' Liqiang to outright identify himself. Yet he not only did it, he apparently gave interviews that revealed his face (i.e. this rules out Wang 'William' Liqiang being a false name). If his claims are true, then this ought to make it easy for China not just to plug the intelligence leak (they can confirm the identity of the agent who's defecting), they can even retaliate easily against any of Wang 'William' Liqiang's family members or loved ones still in China.

It's not just Wang doing it - it seems equally brazen for Australia's security services to allow Wang to do it. The whole thing sounds fishy enough that I'm getting the feeling it's all part of a bigger conspiracy by unknown parties hoping to entice intelligence wins from the other parties.

Has there been any publicly-released information about why Wang 'William' Liqiang identified himself (+ was allowed to do so)?

  • The Chinese already know he fled, so I don't see how they're any more likely to retaliate against his relatives than if he didn't go public. He also fled with his wife and child, if you read the article. – Fizz Nov 25 '19 at 2:38
  • @Fizz yes, but by publicly identifying as a defector, that's like challenging China to retaliate - if the claims are true then this would be a huge propaganda defeat for China, so they can hardly do nothing. He could have, e.g., defected but told the Chinese he was quitting his job. Also, while he did flee with his wife and child, he must have other loved ones - parents, in-laws, etc - that can be targets for retaliation. – Allure Nov 25 '19 at 2:45
  • Or perhaps less likely to retaliate against relatives, if China doesn't want to look like North Korea. – Fizz Nov 25 '19 at 3:00
  • It is possible that he is lying and trying to use this in some way to gain residence in Australia. – klojj Nov 25 '19 at 3:47
  • @klojj the sources I've seen described him as having intimate knowledge of China's (alleged) espionage activities. For it to be an outright lie, and to be taken seriously by Australia's intelligence operatives, seems unlikely. – Allure Nov 25 '19 at 3:53

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